Category Archives: impact: The Book of Abraham

“I was ready to know difficult things”

Impact: I am a BYU graduate, a returned missionary, and a very black-and-white believer (that was probably the problem). The beginning of losing my testimony is probably like a lot of others’ experiences. I never got strong answers to my prayers. I always told myself that I knew the church was true, and I felt good while reading the Book of Mormon.

The clincher came when I worked for the Liahona. I did some research on Abraham for a series on Old Testament prophets (I think it’s in March?), and I read the Wikipedia entry, just like I had for Adam and Noah. Of course I read about the mismatched translations, and my heart sunk. I panicked about it, then eventually figured that there was an explanation, but it didn’t matter. Only my faith mattered.

But I gave myself permission to look at the questions that all of the anti-Mormons were asking. I thought they would be saying stupid things like, “Joseph Smith ate babies!” And of course, it wouldn’t be true. I remembered having a speaker come to BYU-I and talk about this list of 20 things that disproved Mormonism and resolving all 20 of them over the years. So I felt justified. I was ready to know difficult things.

I was so, so wrong. I was a very black-and-white, orthodox Mormon. For example, the whole Proposition 8 thing made me feel uncomfortable, but I supported it anyway. (They had a big campaign at BYU-I to get students involved in a telephone campaign at the time. I didn’t do that but messaged a bunch of friends on Facebook.) My stake president pushed a group of students to start a club at my high school called the CTR Alliance. It was basically FHE for high school kids (despite the fact there was already a Christian club on campus). That felt very wrong too, but I thought the carnal me just needed to be humbled.

Being black-and-white, the church was not allowed to be anything other than black-and-white, and the evidence was so overwhelming. It was just one thing after another–the Book of Abraham, the Kinderhook Plates, the real reason for Thomas Marsh’s excommunication, Joseph’s involvement with treasure hunting and masonry, polyandry, and everything else under the sun. Polyandry was a very painful thing to me, and I think it was what sent my beliefs tumbling down. It was plain adultery in my eyes (which, come to think of it, is that not somewhat sexist of me? I mean, why can a man have multiple wives but a woman can’t have multiple husbands? I guess the point, though, was the utter hypocrisy of Joseph).

If it had been one or two things, I could have survived. But it was too much. It was an excruciatingly painful process deconstructing my faith, but it was also very freeing to let go of faith-encrusted beliefs about women and the priesthood, blacks and the priesthood, polygamy, homosexuality, cohabitation, and the inferiority of other faiths. I feel like this is my refiner’s fire because the people burning me are the people I would have expected to agree with the rest of my life.

I think everyone feels anger to some degree, and it can be all encompassing. It’s anger over a life dedicated to half-truths and lies, anger over losing the love of others because the church won’t come clean, anger that you’ve given yourself so blindly to something that has kept you from loving fully. I don’t know that the anger ever goes away, but it becomes embers, more tame than the inferno that could have taken out a forest and probably took some people with it.

The facts are the catalyst for the betrayal. I think they are the thing that burns below the surface when you talk to others filled with testimony or with people who judge you. At the same time you want to burn them up with the facts, you don’t want anyone to ever feel what you’ve felt. You want to be a light, not an ignition source.

I’ve lost my husband over my loss of faith. I just hope he’ll come back to me and realize that I was just trying to be a light.

Name: ES

Date: 16 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Polygamy; The Book of Abraham; General

‘We can… intentionally deceive others by silence”

Impact:  How has this incomplete disclosure of church history affected your life? Add your story!: I was born into a very devout Mormon family.  There was never a time in 51 years that I did not attend church regularly.  I graduated from Seminary, went on a mission, paid a full tithing, and served in leadership callings.

My faith crisis came last year while defending the church against accusations from an apostate nephew.  The issue dealt with the Book of Abraham.  I quickly discovered that his information was correct.  I found the explanation of the problems from church apologists to be unsatisfactory.

This experience motivated me to study more deeply and skeptically. was a major source of information.  As I went through each topic I read as much as possible from both sides and tried to objectively weigh the evidence.

Books I read included “No Man Knows my History”, “Studies of the Book of Mormon”, “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins”, and “No Weapon Shall Prosper”.  I also listened to many of John Dehlin’s Mormon Stories podcasts and read heavily from

The information from FAIR made it worse.  They verified that the difficulties were based on facts; but followed with weak arguments, logical fallacies, and even personal attacks, in defense of the church.

I was surprised how little I knew about the real history of the church given all my experience. I never learned about Joseph’s polygamy and polyandry; the actual BoM translation process; or the temple ceremony connection to Masonic rituals; etc.

It was clear to me that the church concealed troubling facts and engaged in a concerted effort to rewrite its history.  I began to feel betrayed by the very people I trusted the most.  The Gospel Principles manual states “When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.”  At best the church is telling only part of the truth.

I prayed for answers and guidance but I began to realize that my testimony was based more on feelings than on divine revelation.  I began to feel quite lost and alone.  I didn’t feel like there was anyone out there who could answer the questions that I was struggling with.  I talked to my Bishop and Stake President but they were of no help.

I talked to my wife early about my studying and she agreed to study along with me.  It was very difficult for her to read things that were negative about the church and called into question her beliefs.  Our studying often lead to contentious debates and caused a great strain in our marriage.  We began seeing a counselor to help us work through these difficulties.

My faith crisis also caused problems with my older siblings as they refused to listen or learn about these issues and have accused me of looking for a way out, wanting to sin, being deceived by Satan, etc.  It also created a problem with my employment because I worked at BYU.  I realized I had to leave a job I dearly loved.

The most painful thing so far however, was missing my daughter’s wedding.  She was married in the Temple last month.  It was so hurtful to learn that in other countries couples are allowed to marry civilly and then immediately enter the temple to be sealed, but in America they must wait a year. Most couples, including my daughter and son-in-law are afraid of the consequences of making that choice.  I’ll never forgive the church for denying me the privilege of seeing my precious girl get married.

My faith crisis might have been avoided if the church was open and honest about its history from the start.  I might be able to find a way to stay if they were open and honest now, and allowed non-believing family members and friends to witness their loved ones weddings.  But I don’t see that ever happening and I plan to resign my membership soon.

In short, my faith crisis has cost me my job, strained my relationships with family and friends, and could ultimately cost me my marriage.

Name: Mark

Date: 16 JUL 2014

Impact Topic: Book of Abraham

“I became more disaffected”

Impact: My catalyst was the Book of Abraham. A trusted friend told me it wasn’t true which started me doing a lot if research, as the historical falsehoods piled up I became more disaffected. My husband’s started with his disdain for the practices of shaming that the church employs.

Name:  Anonymous

Date: 15 Jul 2014

Impact Topic: Book of Abraham

“My good name, nature, obedience, and faith… has been abused”

Impact: Someone told me the Book of Abraham was a fraud. I called them a liar and went to to dispel the information they gave me about it.

I felt the blood drain out of me when, after a search, I found confirmation of what the ‘anti’ mormon had said was truth.

Literally, my entire life changed right there. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I felt sick. I couldn’t work. I delved deeply into church historical records to try and get rid of my sudden ‘doubt’ about what has been taught to me. I had fill that sudden, explosion in the dam that was my faith in Joseph Smith as a prophet and as an honest man.

The next thing I discovered was that South Park teaches more truths about Joseph Smith than the church. And then I discovered Joseph’s wifes. My testimony in Joseph died right there, along with my belief that the LDS church is led by honest men.

I continued learning. The rabbit hole is deep and the church is a cesspit.

My childhood, my life has been stolen by deceitful men – from the past and and present. I have been used. My good name, my good nature, and my obedience and faith in God has been abused.

Now I’m a middle-aged woman, with no identity. I’m completely broken. The LDS church has stolen my childhood and youth. They have ruined my life, and ruined my trust in God. They have taken the very best of it and given nothing but lies and deceit back.

I hope, those men who have denied me my agency, and who would have me deny my children’s agency by continuing perpetuating myths, are held accountable one day soon.

Impact Topic: The Book of Abraham

Name: Jen

Date:  14 Jul 2014